Kerber plunges into the murky unknown full of confidence

Sun Jan 31, 2016 3:09am EST
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By Greg Stutchbury

MELBOURNE (Reuters) - Angelique Kerber leapt into murky surroundings on Sunday, just hours after she became the first German since 1999 to win a grand slam tennis title by defeating world number one Serena Williams at the Australian Open.

The 28-year-old's plunge into the Yarra River on Sunday, as a result of a bet with Eurosport journalist Matthias Stach, was an apt metaphor for what her life now holds.

On Monday she is expected to rise to a career-high number two on the WTA Tour rankings.

She can also expect a warm reception from her home country after she became the first German since her childhood idol Steffi Graf to clinch a grand slam, prompting congratulations from sportspeople and the country's President Angela Merkel.

Kerber's victory also painted a large target on her back by proving that Williams was not invincible, though she was quick to acknowledge the American's powers were not on the wane.

"I think against Serena it's not so easy to win. You must play really your best tennis to beat her," Kerber told reporters. "I think it's still tough to beat Serena.

"But of course I think that a lot of new and good players are coming. They will challenge Serena. They will challenge me. They will challenge all the good players.

"Let's see what happens in the next few months."   Continued...

Germany's Angelique Kerber kisses the trophy as Serena Williams of the U.S. claps after Kerber won their final match at the Australian Open tennis tournament at Melbourne Park, Australia, January 30, 2016. REUTERS/Tyrone Siu